NOTE: this article first appeared in the pages of SFWA Bulletin 158, Summer, 2003.
MIKE: Since I’ve been writing a column (elsewhere) for beginning writers, I’ve been asked, from time to time, exactly what a writer owes his editor and publisher, and what they in turn owe the writer.
First and foremost, of course, each of them owes a certain adherence to the terms of the contract. The writer owes his editor a manuscript of X number of words that bears at least a passing resemblance to the synopsis that was used to make the sale. The editor owes the writer his support and his best editorial judgment. The publisher owes the writer Z dollars upon acceptance, and whatever the contract calls for in terms of promotion.
But what else do they owe one another? What other obligations has a writer got—if any? How about an editor? A publisher? Are the terms of the contract the end-all be-all, other that a certain degree of civility, or are there certain general obligations of professionalism that accrue to every writer and editor and publisher, whether spelled out in terms of the contract or not?
Here’s the cover to Mike Resnick’s Worldcons, which will come out, appropriately enough, at the forthcoming Worldcon in London. Though it’s from an Italian publisher, it will be in English, in a limited numbered edition.
NOTE: this article first appeared in the pages of SFWA Bulletin 157, Spring, 2003.
MIKE: I’ve heard some mighty dire predictions about the future of science fiction. There are those who say it’s moribund, and others who say that’s an optimistic appraisal. Publishers are cutting back, advances are in the toilet, sales have never been worse—you know the litany.
I think it certainly deserves some consideration. I don’t think it’s ever been harder to break in, and sales are down, and there are probably less of us making a living from the literature than there were 3 years ago.
But, being a contrarian, I think the reports of science fiction’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Let’s take a serious look at the situation:
What’s Worldcon without a new book? Just sold Mike Resnick’s Worldcons, a 100,000-worder, to Luigi Petruzelli’s Edizioni Della Vigna, where it will be published in *English* in time for LonCon, the 2014 Worldcon to be held in London. It contains a bunch of my Worldcon diaries and reminiscences that appeared over the years in Challenger and Mimosa, transcriptions of my Toastmaster (1988) and Guest of Honor (2012) speeches, some articles I did for various program books and progress reports, and a couple of new pieces. Maybe even some photos if he can fit them in. I’ve been enjoying these things for over half a century; it was high time I did something permanent about it.
Here are links to my Hugo-nominated story, “Winter Solstice”, in the current issue of Fantasy Scroll magazine, and to an interview they did with me in the same issue.
Just sold an intro to The Kilkenny Cats, a collection by L. Ron Hubbard, to be published by Galaxy Press.
This link will take you right to the site:
I just sold the second in my Weird Western series, The Doctor and the Kid, to AST, my regular Russian publisher.